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Information related to operating a charter boat, commercial fish pier or rental boat business in Virginia tidal waters

Resident License Fees Fees Where to buy
*CHARTER/HEAD BOAT-6 & UNDER PASSENGERS $190.00 VMRC OPERATIONS
*CHARTER/HEAD BOAT-MORE THAN 6 PASSENGERS $190.00 plus
$5.00 per passenger over 6
VMRC OPERATIONS
BOAT RENTAL $14.00 per boat
max. $703.00
VMRC OPERATIONS
COMMERCIAL FISH PIER $83.00 VMRC OPERATIONS
COMMERCIAL PIER-SALTWATER RECREATIONAL, OPTIONAL $632.00 in addition to $83 fee above VMRC OPERATIONS
CLASS A FISHING GUIDE LICENSE

$100.00

VMRC OPERATIONS
CLASS B FISHING GUIDE LICENSE

$100.00

VMRC OPERATIONS
     
Non-Resident License Fees Fees Where to buy
*NON-RESIDENT HARTER/HEAD BOAT-6 & UNDER PASSENGERS $380.00 VMRC OPERATIONS
*NON-RESIDENT CHARTER/HEAD BOAT-MORE THAN 6 PASSENGERS $380.00 plus
$5.00 per passenger over 6
VMRC OPERATIONS
NON-RESIDENT BOAT RENTAL $18.00 per boat
max. $1270.00
VMRC OPERATIONS
NON-RESIDENT CLASS A FISHING GUIDE LICENSE

$200.00

VMRC OPERATIONS
NON-RESIDENT CLASS B FISHING GUIDE LICENSE

$200.00

VMRC OPERATIONS
NON-RESIDENT FISHING GUIDE RECIPROCITY PERMIT No Cost VMRC OPERATIONS

*When the same applicant purchases a Class A or Class B fishing guide license prior to purchasing one charter boat or head boat license as required by § 28.2-302.8 of the Code of Virginia, the fee for that charter boat or head boat license shall be reduced by the cost of the fishing guide license.

Copies of the 1993 and 2009 Virginia, Maryland, and Potomac River Fisheries Commission reciprocal tidal license agreements:

<MD/VA Reciprocity Agreement Amendment> <Original MD/VA Reciprocity Agreement>

Charter boat licensing and other permitting requirements:

In order to run charters in the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia coastal waters a captain must obtain their US Coast Guard Captain's license, a Virginia Charter/Head Boat License, and either a Class A or Class B Virginia Fishing Guide License. In order to catch certain species a charter boat captain may be required to obtain additional no-cost permits. These permits are designed to ensure that charter captains are aware of the rules associated with special management programs and to facilitate recreational harvest reporting.

As of March 2018, there are three recreational species permits available to charter captains: the Spring Trophy Striped Bass Recreational Permit, the Cobia Recreational Permit, and the Tilefish/Grouper Recreational Landing Permit. Please see sections 4 VAC 20-252-60 and 4 VAC 20-252-70 of the striped bass regulation, section 4 VAC 20-510-15 of the cobia regulation, and section 4 VAC 20-1120-31 of the tilefish and grouper regulation for the specific legal requirements associated with the respective permits.

Charter boat captains are required to report to the Commission their daily catch and effort during the Virginia Trophy-Size Striped Bass Season, the Cobia Season, and the Tilefish/Grouper Season for both themselves and their customers. Captains may report online using the Virginia Saltwater Journal or by mailing in paper reports using this form. For additional information on Charter Boat Licenses or Permits, please e-mail Sara Blachman or call (757) 247-2004.

All permits and licenses expire on December 31 for the year listed on the permit or license.

Other reciprocal licenses:

For more information on reciprocity please consult the DGIF website or the PRFC website.

Note that additional permits may be required while operating in federal waters. Please click here for federal permitting information.

Other links of interest to charter boat captains:

General fishing regulations for all recreational hook and line fishermen in Virginia's marine waters

Regulation prohibiting the sale of recreational hook and line caught fish and requiring charter boat captains to report catch if requested by personnel authorized by the Commission

Regulation prohibiting commercial hook and line fishing on charter vessels carrying passengers that are recreationally fishing

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament: information on Citations, Rules of the Tournament, Weigh Stations, Current State Records, Plaque Winners, Fish Tagging Program, Handling and Releasing Fish, etc.

Virginia Saltwater Angler's Guide (full color PDF guide of saltwater angling in VA)

The VMRC Artificial Reef Program (online map or PDF version); click here for more information on reefs from our Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund website

Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) Statistics from the National Marine Fisheries Service

Saltwater Angling and its Economic Importance to Virginia(1997 VIMS report)

U. S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Information

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